Ghostly Mules on the tracks in the Cajon Pass
If you have ever been up in Blue Cut on old highway 395, late at evening, sometimes you can hear the baying of mules or horses. Of course when you look around to see where the noise is coming from a Big UP quartet will come roaring around the cut and the noise will disappear or fade away.
In 1898, a Santa Fe Engineer heading north from the devore area into a heavy fog and snowfall thought he saw mules on the tracks ahead of him. He jammed on the brakes in hopes of not hitting the animals but failed to stop in time. He got down from his 2442 and walked to the front of the train.
Under the cow catcher and laying off to the one side of the tracks he found to his horror that he had indeed struck a team of mules pulling a triple wagon load down the mountain.
The Stevedore was alright but madder than a wet hen as he served the wreckage. The train engineer and conductor were none to happier either. They wanted to know what he was doing on the tracks in the first place.
It seems that the driver got lost on the way down the pass in the fog and snow and when he found the tracks he decided he would stick to them because they would take him down to the road to San Bernardino.
As the tale goes, several engineers and people in cars have seen these mules or heard the braying of the mules while they are parked at the Blue Cut park. Often times people have been so scared that they get back in there cars and leave as fast as they can.
one couple described seeing a 4 team set of mules wandering around the cut, but they were obviously dead. One mule was nothing more than rotting flesh and bones and the others were in much better condition.
In 1922 an engineer in a Santa Fe Engine was forced to jam on his brakes just as he plowed into a team of mules on the tracks. When he got to check on the damage there was nothing around. As he and the train crew looked around they heard the unmistakable braying of mules. They got on the train as fast as they could and left the area, never reporting there encounter to there railroad bosses but rumor spread about the ghostly encounter.
I must admit as much time as I spent in the pass watching trains, I never had the opportunity to witness or hear anything other than freeway and train noises.
Although, on one occasion while parked at Blue Cut it did start to snow. We sat there for awhile enjoying the snow until we were forced to leave. As one of the guys got in after a nature call, he asked if we had been out side. We all said no, why? He said that all around the car were the prints of a shoed animal. Horse he thought but none of us had seen or heard anything.
We never thought about it till we heard the stories. Never went back to Blue Cut in a snow storm either.
Gary Hall, the ghostpainter